Grand Jury Declines to Indict Highland Park Student After Rape Accusation

Categories: Crime

romo mugshot.jpg
Romo's mugshot
A Dallas County grand jury has declined to indict a prominent Highland Park High School student who was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl after a concert last fall.

Ryan Romo, 18, was arrested in October, accused of raping a younger female acquaintance in the back of his Chevy Tahoe after a Ghostland Observatory concert at the Palladium Ballroom. Because Romo was a prominent high school athlete, and because his father is Adam Romo Jr., the chief executive officer of Eatzi's, the case brought a flurry of media attention. Most memorable was this still-breathtakingly-stupid article from CultureMap Dallas, which we subsequently took to task.

We hadn't heard any updates in the case since October 31, when Romo was released from jail. Now, as the Morning News reports, a Dallas County grand jury has "no-billed" Romo. The case against him is closed, unless new evidence is presented to prosecutors.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Romo and the girl caught a cab back to his car after the show, climbed in the back and started kissing. But when Romo eventually removed his pants, the girl told him she didn't want to have sex. Romo told her "it would be OK and to allow it to happen," the affidavit says, then ignored her as she screamed "stop."

A medical exam by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at Medical Center of Plano found vaginal tearing and abrasions to the girl's buttocks. After a follow-up with her regular physician, that doctor told investigators he believed the trauma he observed "to have been forceful."

According to the News, Romo took a polygraph test, the results of which were presented to the grand jury. During the polygraph, he said the sex had been consensual.

The stepfather of the girl told the News the family is "extremely disheartened and dismayed" by the results of the grand jury. Romo's lawyer, meanwhile, says it is "unlikely" that the Romos will sue the girl's family.


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28 comments
UnCoverUp
UnCoverUp

"Romo's lawyer, meanwhile, says it is 'unlikely' that the Romos will sue the girl's family." The Romo Family mouthpiece got that right. Yo, mouthpiece, it is very likely the girl's family will sue-the-pants-off the Romo Family, capisci?

Just as monied lawbyer (lawyer-lobbyer) firms control the black-market for summary judgments by corruptible Texas state judges, they control the black-market for the selective prosecution and non-prosecution by corruptible Texas DAs. DA Hill has already been shown to be on-the-take for his prosecutorial misconduct in the indictment of Albert G. Hill, III as retribution for contesting unconscionable legal fees demanded by Lisa Blue-Baron, Charla Aldous and Stephen Malouf. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/122976611/Motion-to-Quash-and-Dismiss-Indictments-Due-to-Prosecutorial-Misconduct) See Looks like its time for the feds to move against this extortion/bribery racket run by the Texas lawyer mafia.

melindacook
melindacook

He admitted he had sex with her. Consensual or not I thought sex between a 18 yr. old and 15 yr. old was illegal??  I sure harped on this with my boys, especially once they got about 17....

Guesty
Guesty

If that girl was raped, I feel very bad for her.  If she wasn't, I feel very bad for him.  Anyone that thinks they have a good idea of which one is the victim here based on the facts that are publicly available is basing that opinion on their general view of date rape allegations, not on the facts of this case.  That, quite simply, is a very bad way to form such extreme judgments about people.          

halldecker
halldecker

Rule is,  you don't tell the DA about the polygraph until you pass it.

Examiner has to be somebody the DA will accept results from.   There's plenty of examiners,  the DA won't accept more than two or three.


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"During the polygraph, he said the sex had been consensual."

Hard to beat a polygraph.  Particularly if you are 18.  This probably pushed it over the "burden of proof" line of beyond reasonable doubt.

And statistically, prosecutors know they need some bad facts to get a conviction when the spread between the ages is less than three years.

She still has a civil suit where it is only the "burden of proof" line is only the "preponderance of evidence".

And the Dad has deep pockets.  He might settle to avoid trial and jackpot justice.

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

VIP service at the Dallas County Grand Jury.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@melindacook he was 18 she was 16 at the time of the alleged incident. The law is 3 years I believe.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@halldecker But does the DA have to put it into evidence in  Grand Jury hearing?  He's not there to help the defense at that point.  All he wants to do is get him to a trial.

poppacraig
poppacraig

@holmantx

But polygraphs don't measure truth, they measure how someone feels about a statement. If you are an entitled jock who thinks that a girl who has some drinks with you and gets into your car "wants it" then you believe any sex that comes from it is actually consensual.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@holmantx Polygraph tests are easy to beat if you manipulate the benchmark questioning. There's really no place in law enforcement for polygraph tests these days, it's antiquated voodoo science.

halldecker
halldecker

@holmantx @halldecker  

except for the occasional 'run-away' Grand Jury,  my experience is they take their lead from the DA who presents cases to the GJ.  They're with him every day.   This would have been a major trial,  the defense having unlimited funds to fight back,  that includes consultants to pick the jury,  mock trials to see what defenses work,  etc.  Quite likely the DA decided not to chance being tagged with a well-publicized loss.

 And,  I'm sure the news that Craig Watkins will have a well-funded opponent in the Democratic primary had nothing to do with the fear of chancing bad publicity.

 I base this on experiences from hanging around courthouses for over 35 years.



 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@poppacraig Wow okay then; he' obviously guilty nevermind.

Guesty
Guesty

@Scruffygeist @holmantx It isn't perfect, but it isn't voodoo either.  A 2003 report from the National Academy of Sciences examined 57 polygraph studies and concluded: "In populations of examinees such as those represented in the polygraph research literature, untrained in countermeasures, specific-incident polygraph tests can discriminate lying from truth telling at rates well above chance, though well below perfection." Their analysis of the 30 most recent polygraph data sets showed an overall accuracy of 85 percent, and an analysis of seven field studies involving specific incidents showed a median accuracy of 89 percent.  That's not bad, but far from perfect.  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Scruffygeist @holmantx even high school students?  I am assuming the prosecution a) employed it, and b) introduced it in evidence to a grand jury because they thought it was going to help indict the guy.  He doesn't get to have his attorney there in the room.

halldecker
halldecker

@mcdallas @halldecker @holmantx of course not.  But even an 18 year old knows what STOP! means.   When you were 18,  didn't you?  (Girl I was dating had relatives in the Mafia.  I damn sure did.)

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@poppacraig It wasn't used to determine truth, but only to establish reasonable doubt and the defense attorney wasn't even there to drive that point home.  

There wasn't even enough there to get an indictment, much less convict and the Grand Jury arrived at that conclusion without any defense at all.

They came to that conclusion on the facts presented, which tells me the prosecutors weren't buying the charge in the first place, but had a duty to present it to a grand jury.

That's why it looks like Ms. Merlin is on a witch hunt (no pun intended - ha!).

poppacraig
poppacraig

@holmantx

Yeah that's what I said.

All I pointed out was that polygraphs are horrible ways to determine truth.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @holmantx Oh come on.  You pounced on the guy when you knew the polygraph took him past her burden of proof requirement.  Remember?  The burden of proof is on her.  

And what's up with the breathtakingly-stupid article slam?  What was in there that pissed you off this time?  That he wasn't convicted of driving while rich?  Because that is what it appears to be propelling your slant, as well as the chimers on this thread.  You have to make up a factset (rich kid) to get past the no-bill.  

Time to man up, woman.  She's still got civil process.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@holmantx Shutting up Ms. Merlan is extraordinarily difficult, but you're more than welcome to keep that on your wish-list. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@scottindallas @holmantx @Scruffygeist Oh ok, he's guilty.  

Prosecutors were just gotten to by evil Highland Park white people.  He obviously usurped the old adage that a DA can indict a potato since he controls the introduction of the facts at a Grand Jury hearing.  Wonder why the prosecutor even introduced the polygraph?  Too bad he wasn't black, right?  

At least that would have shut up Ms. Merlin.


scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx @Scruffygeist You don't think he had the best legal advice available, Holman?   If there's a way to reliably affect a polygraph test, he was coached on it. 

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